April 2 - With the soccer World Cup just months away, rival sportwear brands Nike and Adidas are squaring up for a fierce marketing battle. Nigel Hilditch reports.
At the World Cup this summer rivalries will be rife. None more so than the brand battle between Adidas and Nike. Historically, Germany's Adidas is has been the front-runner when it comes to football. But American upstart Nike has built its soccer brand swiftly. Nike Brand President, Trevor Edwards: (SOUNDBITE) (English): Trevor Edwards, Nike Brand President "The World Cup serves a very clear purpose for us. It allows us to use the energy of the World Cup to win with our consumers to drive our business and importantly to reinforce our position as the leading football brand" But who'll win the 'battle of the brands' in Brazil? Nike will make kit for 10 of the 32 finalists, outscoring Adidas for the very first time. And its trump card could be backing host nation and favourites Brazil. Adidas though are attached to arch rivals Argentina, as well as third favourites Germany and World Champions Spain. Pitch PR Brand Expert Drew Barrand (SOUNDBITE)(English): Drew Barrand, Brand Expert, Pitch PR "Whilst Nike leads the way in the overall sportswear market, Adidas's heritage and strength in football means it has the market share leading point of view from football specific. But Nike are catching up. And they're doing it pretty quickly." Both brands have already launched innovative new "knitted" boots. But with the average park player unlikely to notice much of a difference, sales are going to be based on which stars wear what. Again there's little between them. Nike boast Brazil's Neymar and World Player of the Year Cristiano Ronaldo. But Adidas pay for the pleasure of lacing the boots of Lionel Messi and Robin van Persie. Adidas benefits from being an official World Cup sponsor. It's already seeing significant sales of the official World Cup match ball. However, you say it, it even has its own Twitter account, which already has over 100,000 followers. Nike though is no slouch in the tech sphere - it's the number one most hashtagged brand on Instagram and boasts 48 million unique connections with football consumers worldwide. So as the final whistle blows, honours are just about even. But even the best sides can fall victim to the dreaded shoot-out. Weak currencies in emerging markets, like Brazil, could wipe out World Cup gains for both companies this year. Whoever can save themselves from that penalty could be the ultimate winner of this brand battle.